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“Let’s have a look,” said the serviceman from Arenz Pest Management as he knelt down, flipped on his flashlight, and poked through the dark stubble massed in the corner of my back porch. I looked over his shoulder, eager to have expert eyes analyze this disorder that had reappeared since last week’s vacuuming.Text Box: “I don’t see this very often,” he said squinting, adjusting his uniform cap. “You’ve got lots of spiders in your attic—having a bash. What you see on the floor are the remains of dead insects they spit out. See that opening in the joint, above the windows? That’s where they’re having the bash. In time, the spiders will die off, and so will your problem. Keep vacuuming in the meantime.” 

As I reflected upon this experience, a metaphor surfaced. The spiders are likened to covert spin-doctors, propagandist experts, and masters of media distortion; they take a truth, chew through it, and spit out what is foreign to their ideologies. What remains is deadly and creates havoc within the populace, asleep with their eyes wide open. In no way can societies live in harmony. The sickness even permeates those in leadership roles.

On the other hand, “the clean of heart,” simple, humble folks, often poor, are like trained servicemen and women who adhere to the whole truth in their psyches, name the half-truths in our maniacal culture spinning around us, and find solidarity with the like-minded.

There is a way out, but it requires consciousness and work. In the meantime, as counseled by the Arenz tech, “Keep vacuuming!”

isolated red vacuum cleaner.3d render.See also:

In my perception, Bong Joon Ho, the Korean director of the film Parasite, has crazed a global nerve still vibrating from its four Oscars awarded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Such films carry the wallop of myth, in former times, a spiritual force that corrected, educated, and inspired its listeners. Its title, Parasite, images the disgusting organism, secretive, invasive, even deadly, that lives in or on an organism of a different species. Often the host’s infestation remains undetected and mimics other diseases that complicate diagnoses and treatment.

The film Parasite presents the wealthy sophisticated Kim family and the scrounging Parks, both engaged in class warfare and seeking an elusive material security that pits them against each other. The parasitic infection is mounted through the cunning of Kee-Woo, the Parks’ teenage son and the story takes off from there. Beneath its surface, however, lurks an ominous tone that discomfits both families as well as the viewers. Something very dark lies ahead.

Although the film story runs two hours and twelve minutes, it plays into a much longer one in our psyches, one that unbeknownst to us, may have been running for decades—Thus, our parasite. Whatever our circumstances, material security has become the god of our consumer society, and greed, like the parasite, fuels this self centered pursuit.

How ferret out this disease that kills spirit? How do with less? How share with others without being condescending? When is enough, enough?

I continue learning …

 

It was Saturday afternoon, in the darkened movie theater of the Shady Oak. Around me other kids fidgeted and munched popcorn. Tentatively, I felt my nose. Unlike Pinocchio’s, it had not grown, despite lies I had told that morning. I squirmed in my seat; my face flushed knowing that scorched place from which this marionette’s tall tales flowed, one after another.

It was 1940. Walt Disney Studios had released an animated film based upon the epic fairy tale-novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio, written by Carlo Collodi in 1883 and set in Tuscan, Italy. An immediate sensation, it was translated into multiple languages—the English version by Mary Alice Murray, in 1892. Unlike Disney’s Pinocchio, however, Collodi’s takes the reader into his struggle to become the living son of the impoverished Geppetto who had carved him from a singing block of wood.

Wayward and petulant, the next morning Pinocchio kills the Talking Cricket crawling on the wall of the cottage and runs away, barreling out of control. A succession of misadventures befalls him: at the Great Marionette Theater; with a host of animals, both tricksters and helpful; at the Land of the Toys where he’s transformed into a donkey; and at the circus. All through these scrapes the spirit of the same Talking Cricket accompanies him and equates his lies to the enlargement of his nose. Even more trauma befalls Pinocchio until his wooden heart becomes one of flesh, and he wakes up as a boy, the son of Geppetto and his wife.

Both Collodi’s and Disney’s versions of this fairy tale offer a simple morality tale for children of any age. It’s about becoming fully human with its joys and foibles.

 

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